I'm sitting here on a gray day, not feeling so great, holding my not-so-baby boy. My three year old dozes on the sofa, lulled by the white noise of Noggin. I'm thankful for the rest, and thinking about how quickly the past year sped by.
A year ago, I might have been sitting in this exact same place, at the same time of day, with the same child in my arms. But he was a newborn. Over the past year, Slow Down I demanded of Time. But Time doesn't listen. Cole keeps growing. Now, he's standing on his own, beginning to speak a little, and generally threatening to resign his position as 'baby'. Too bad, Bubbaloo, you're the baby no matter what. :)
Every so often, I think back to seven years ago when we were brand new parents. The first baby who we could literally sit and stare at all day long, marveling at her, whose 'firsts' were also ours. Whose every movement and twitch and smile and pattern we knew because it was all we were paying attention to and soaking up and loving (except in the evening... then it was Prime Fussy Time, and thankfully for her, we didn't know any different). That complete absorption in the first baby is a one time deal.
But this time? Life moves faster. There's so much more to do in a day - more little people needing just as much attention and just as much love. Cole came along for the ride - on my back, or very nearby. And when I have a chance to sit down, I wonder where this day has gone.
I can scarcely believe the difference in his first year compared to that of the his sister, and sometimes feel he's been slighted. Sometimes I feel they all have, especially when I see how much time only children have their parents devote to them (then I wonder what pressure having that white-hot hope focused only on you must be like, too). But each time that leads to worry...I see him with his sister and brother. I see my older two playing together, making up games in that way only siblings can find amusement. I see Cole being included in his own way, and demanding inclusion in other ways, and generally being gladly welcomed into the games. I see it all day. And I remember - that for these younger siblings - this is their gift. A whole lot of love - distributed into many hearts. I realize it's not only about the love I give them, and the time I can spend with each one, but the love they give each other. Somehow, it all works out.
Remind me of this tonight when I am cooking dinner and they're driving me crazy. ;)